Language Policy

Rationale/Belief Statement

Murchison Middle School is part of the Anderson High School vertical team, which believes in preparing students to be global citizens and world leaders. We recognize that fluency in multiple languages plays an important role in reaching this goal for our students. We believe that communication is the key to developing knowledgeable, inquiring, and thoughtful global citizens.

Approaches to Teaching

English is the Language of instruction at Murchison Middle School and language development is supported in every subject area. Teachers implement reading across the disciplines as appropriate and build academic vocabulary for all students. Cooperative and collaborative learning models, as well as Technology, are utilized as part of instruction in all classrooms as a strategy to support communication.

Language and Literature (English Language Arts)

Effective communication is the key to success in academic and personal pursuits. To this end, English Language Arts teachers employ instruction in the following areas to support student development of communication skills:

  • Application of vocabulary and word choice
  • Analysis, critical thinking, drawing inferences and conclusions about theme, structure, and genre-specific literary elements
  • Use of text evidence to support claims
  • Guidance through the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) to compose various texts including creative, expository, and persuasive pieces
  • Development and refinement of writing conventions such as grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling
  • Expansion of research skills using the design cycle
  • Refinement of speaking skills through the conventions of language
  • Progression of listening skills through collaboration and teamwork

Language Acquisition (World Languages)

Strong vertical support exists for students to become multilingual. Each elementary school that feeds into Murchison offers exploratory language instruction in grades 1-5. Spanish will be explored in grade 1, French in grade 2, German in grade 3, Chinese in grade 4, and Latin in grade 5. Upon entering Murchison, students will select one of those languages to study for their three years and even have the opportunity to earn two high school credits in Language study. This satisfies their high school graduation requirement and allows students to pursue advanced language study at Anderson High School, an IB World School offering the Diploma Programme. Students even will have the flexibility to study additional languages.

At Murchison Middle School we believe that culture drives the Language B curriculum. Through the study of Language B, students will gain a better understanding of their mother tongue language such as knowledge of syntax, grammatical structures etc. Our students will gain the skills and knowledge needed to gain fluency at the next level of language study. Upon completion of language B study at Murchison, students will be able to communicate effectively in the target language and to have cultural awareness that extends beyond their local community.

English Language Learners (ELL)

Murchison Middle School complies with Texas Education Code in implementing an ELL Program and supports for ELL students. All students are given a home language survey upon registering with the district. If families indicate that a language other than English is spoken at home, students are assessed using a speaking and listening assessment. Depending on the scores from this assessment, the ITBS Reading test is administered to determine Limited English Proficiency (LEP) status. All ELL students are assessed annually with the state annual assessment which determines their level of English proficiency. The assessment includes reading, writing, listening and speaking. To exit the program, students must pass the State Assessment, score advanced high on the TELPAS, and score a level 4 or 5 on the Oral Language Proficiency Test. The following are some strategies used at Murchison to support students whose mother tongue is a language other than English.

  • Beginner and intermediate level students are in Sheltered Language Arts and Math classes taught by a certified teacher using the same standards as ELA teachers (see above).
  • Students receive support in their other classes through ELL strategies and teachers.
  • Each student’s culture is promoted in class and study skills class.
  • Cultural differences and norms are taught in class and study skills classes.
  • Special instructional support is provided for Vietnamese and Spanish speaking students.
  • School communication with parent support is provided for in Vietnamese and Spanish.

The progress of students who are not in ELL classes is monitored and interventions are provided as necessary.